Once again I lost the habit of writing here, but I have a slightly better excuse than usual. I have been fighting a war.
The short version – our apartment has fleas.
Background – We moved into the current apartment a little more than 2 years ago. Last summer I got bug bit occasionally, three or so at a time every few days. We never could figure out what was biting me or where, and since I’ve always attracted bugs and reacted impressively to bites it was impossible for me to be sure where they were coming from.
As this summer warmed up, I started to get the occasional bite again. We went away to CO/SD for a week at the beginning of July and closed up the apartment, when we got back it was humid and stuffy but it aired out quickly. However, the bites increased when we returned, I was getting ten or so a night.
A week later I was packing for my trip to WI and I saw a bug for the first time. Small, dark brown, kind of bullet shaped on the top, and when I moved it jumped away. I did some internet research and it looked a lot like a flea. We don’t have any pets, but some other folks in the apartment complex do, as well as some of the neighbors.
My first night back I found a few bugs crawling on me and was able to show them to J, he confirmed my flea diagnosis. With knowledge newly gained from the internet I began vacuuming daily (which does work on adult bugs) and carefully dusting, but I continued to get bit. That weekend (7/23) we pulled all the moveable furniture out of the bedroom and flea powdered the carpet for a full 24 hrs, then shifted things back into the bedroom and flea powdered the rest of the carpeted areas of the house as best we could. J and I went to a double feature and dinner to let the powder sit for several hours before vacuuming. I also flea powdered my car, just in case.
That last week of July I was working and so out of the apartment a lot. The skin-so-soft I ordered from Avon arrived and I was coating myself in it whenever I was home. I tried taking an antihistamine to reduce my reaction, but it didn’t seem to help. There were still a few bugs around and I was still getting bit, but we hoped the powder had made the carpets uninhabitable so what we were seeing were stragglers. I had a new kaleidoscope of bites on my ankles as we left Friday morning for a weekend in Santa Barbara.
That brings us to this week. Sunday night we got home and I was feeling lazy. I didn’t skin so soft, and we couldn’t vacuum; it was too late. Besides we there were only straggler fleas left, we were winning.
Monday I woke up with over 50 new bites.
So the landlord is in on it now, and working on getting an exterminator in. We’re back to daily vacuuming, have changed the sheets on the bed again, and have all our dirty laundry sealed in garbage bags so they can’t re-infect anything. J has created a decontamination zone in our entry hallway, we’re planning to wash ALL of our clothes on Saturday, and I slather myself in skin-so-soft as soon as I get in the door from work. I’m still getting bit but in the range six to eight a day. Really, being able to count them on my fingers is a relief, though with so many bites already it’s difficult to tell what is new and what’s not.
The current theory is that the fleas are coming from a hedge next to where J parks his car. So we’ve been reseeding the fleas inside all the time.
I am constantly itchy. Calamine lotion is my friend though flaying my skin also seems reasonable. On dinner break today I actually stripped naked in a bathroom stall so I could be sure to lotion every bite. This is horrible and I just want it to be over. Gah. Though on the plus side, our apartment has never been so clean.
If anyone’s made it through all this – I likely owe you a sticker or a cookie or something.
If anyone has family remedies for bug bites, or knows of a clever way to get rid of fleas please, please let me know.
Typing does distract from itching and I’m back in rehearsal, so I should be more present here for the next few weeks.